Bangladesh and Myanmar on Sunday braced for the effects of a very powerful cyclone that was beginning to hit coastal areas, with authorities urging thousands of people in both countries to take shelter.
The outermost edge of Cyclone Mocha reached the coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine state and the center of the storm was expected in the afternoon near the city of Sittwe, which was under the weather’s highest alert, it said on Sunday. Meteorology.
More than 4,000 of Sittwe’s 300,000 residents had been moved to other towns since Friday and more than 20,000 were taking shelter in fortified buildings such as monasteries, pagodas and schools in upper parts of the city, said Tin Nyen O, who Helping people in the shelter in Sittwe.
He said many residents live in areas more than three meters above sea level, which people consider out of reach of the storm.
Tin Nyan O said on Saturday morning that the city was experiencing strong winds of 40 to 48 kilometers per hour (25 to 40 miles per hour).
“The storm hasn’t arrived yet, so we don’t have too many difficulties. However, there are too many people in the shelters and not enough toilets,” he said.
Lin Lin, president of a local charity, had earlier said they did not have enough food at shelters in Sittwe because more people had arrived than expected.
Sunday morning was sunny and humid in most parts of Bangladesh.
Aid workers and UN agencies in Bangladesh brought dozens of ambulances with tons of dry food and medical teams in advance to large refugee camps where more than a million Rohingya who have fled persecution in Myanmar live.
Bangladesh issued its highest alert level for Cox’s Bazar, where the camps are located. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department warned that the cyclone could cause serious damage to people and property in eight coastal districts.
No rain reported in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday morning.
Bangladesh, home to more than 160 million people, had prepared more than 1,500 shelters. The Navy said it has 21 ships, maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters ready for search and rescue operations.
Bangladesh officials said heavy rains from the cyclone could cause landslides in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar and three other hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari.
In May 2008, a storm surge from Typhoon Nargis devastated populated areas in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River Delta. At least 138,000 people were killed and thousands of homes and other buildings were destroyed.
Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are getting stronger and faster, partly because of climate change, explained Roxy Mathew Cole, a climate scientist at the Medical Institute of Tropical Meteorology in the city of Pune.
Climate scientists point out that cyclones can now maintain their energy for several days. Cyclone Amphan, which hit eastern India in 2020, continued to move over land as a severe cyclone, causing widespread damage.
“As long as the oceans are warm and the winds are favorable, the cyclones will remain strong for a long time,” Cole said.
Cyclones are among the most devastating natural disasters in the world, especially when they hit heavily populated areas off the coast of South Asia.